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Phoenix Coyotes: What "Hockey in the Desert" Needs to Succeed

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 21:  Matthew Lombardi #15 and Adrian Aucoin #33 of the Phoenix Coyotes celebrate with teammates on the bench after Lombardi scored a first period goal against the Nashville Predators during the NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on January 21, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Predators 4-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Eric LaForgeCorrespondent IJanuary 24, 2010

I don't think that there is any team in the NHL that has had to deal with as many distractions as the Phoenix Coyotes. They had a bunch of major issues that were surrounding this team at the beginning of the season.

Between the bankruptcy, the new coach, and the possibility of moving to Canada, there were a ton of people that considered "Hockey in the Desert" to be a failure.

I can't say that I disagree with them. However, I don't consider the idea a failure, I consider it a failure of management. I still think that this could succeed in the future with a better managerial staff.

The first thing that they have to do is put a good team on the ice. Without a doubt, that is the biggest factor in whether or not fans come to the game. They have to create a solid fan base for future seasons.

There are plenty of teams that have done this. Take the Detroit Red Wings for example, they do this better than anybody. They have made the playoffs every year for just under two decades and these wins have created a strong fan base. Now, they have a better attendance record than a lot of other NHL franchises because fans know that they're going to see a good team.

Another example would be the Pittsburgh Penguins. Just take a look at how much of a stronger fan base they got when they drafted Sidney Crosby, and now that they've won the Stanley Cup.

Phoenix needs to do the exact same thing. They have to put a great team on the ice every year for "Hockey in the Desert" to be a success.

I wrote another article that talks about how they've been able to field this team for this season. It goes over all of the changes that they made and talks about how having a financial crisis forced the front office to put a better team on the ice (see that article ).

This year, the Coyotes have been doing better in all areas of their game. They are seventh in defense, eighth in offense, and have Ilya Bryzgalov to back them up. As long as they keep playing well, they'll see more fans come to the game and that will help them stay out of a financial crisis in the future.

See more NHL News and Opinions at Tips for Hockey

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